A/N: Alex’s powers and new knowledge will make more sense if you go read the first story in this series: “The League of Extraordinary Women”. The disclaimer, spoilers, and other information are in chapter 1.
Monday started off just fine. Classes went okay. Louis was hysterically funny at lunch when he was telling this story about how last week he asked out Marsha and they had their first date Saturday night and then everything went totally wrong, and he ended up driving Marsha home on an emergency tire an hour past her curfew with both of them covered in mud and stuff.
Okay, she’d had days like that. And they were never funny. Until like a year later, and maybe not even then. So she went and checked that Marsha was okay. And Marsha admitted it was really her fault for being too feminist, because when Louis got a flat when they were driving up Carter Creek Road, she insisted on helping even if she was in a skirt and heels. And so when she pulled the flat tire off, she fell backwards and knocked Louis over and the two of them and the flat and the spare tire rolled down the embankment into the creek, which had no water this time of year, but did have plenty of mud at the bottom. And then they needed three tries to get the spare tire back up the slope, and by the time they found out the spare tire was flat too, they were both muddy and greasy and really frustrated. And her dress and heels were both totally ruined, because mud didn’t come out a lot of the time, and she lost a shoe in the mud and never found it again. And her dad sort of yelled at Louis a lot when he brought her home late and covered in mud.
That reminded her of the time Louis took Hannah out, and then Ethan showed up in the middle of the restaurant to get Hannah back, and everything went wrong. Or the time Louis tried to be really cool and walked over to toss the frisbee with the two hot girls in aerobics outfits, and he accidentally threw their frisbee onto a passing truck. Or the time… Why did it seem sometimes like Louis’s life was some kind of sitcom?
But school was fine, except for Louis complaining about Marsha’s dad never letting Louis take Marsha out again. And Louis’s dad getting on Louis about not taking care of the car tires and not maintaining the spare, which it sounded like was exactly what had happened. So Louis was probably going to have to buy a whole new set of tires, instead of being able to spend his money on what he wanted.
But other than Louis, school went just fine. So she got all the way over to Gloria’s and started work, and she was in the middle of waiting on a couple college guys who were flirting with her, when her phone vibrated inside her waistband.
She got their orders and hurried over to Gloria. As soon as she handed in the orders, she checked the text. It was from Nicole. It said ‘PVCCU on 9’. Great. The Paradise Valley Chemical credit union over on Ninth Street was being robbed. And she hadn’t gotten the new ‘secret codeword guidelines’ out to Nicole and Robyn and Louis yet, either. That sounded like bad strategic planning to her. Or bad time management. Something bad that was her fault.
She gritted her teeth and said, “Gloria, I know it’s way too early to take my break, but I really, really need to take it now. I know we’re busy and all…”
Gloria gave her a quick look. “You’re not feeling sick again, are you?”
She could have lied, but then Gloria might not have let her work until she had a doctor’s note she was okay, and that wasn’t ever going to happen. She just said, “I know it’s a problem, but I really need to take my break now. And I’ll try not to run long, but something’s come up.”
She expected Gloria to fuss a bunch. Or at least some. But Gloria gave a weird glance over toward the kitchen, looked her in the eye, and said, “Okay. Go.”
She hurried out the back door, still trying to figure what was up with Gloria. Because that was a little weird. And she didn’t like weird. She had enough weird in her life already, and new weird had often turned out to be trouble.
She stepped out into the little parking area behind the row of stores. There was no one around. She hopped into her car, ducked down so no one could see her, and went silvery.
It took maybe ten seconds to puddle her way into the spare tire compartment, grab her uniform and the cameras, leave her regular clothes behind, and puddle down to the street. Then she went into the storm drain that she had very carefully parked over.
She had checked out this storm drain before. The last time she was working at Gloria’s and needed to go stop a supercrook jewelry store robbery, she had puddled into the storm drain, gone down the pipe, and ended up three blocks further away from the jewelry store instead of getting closer. But she knew she could go the same way and she would end up three blocks closer to the credit union, because it was in the opposite direction from the jewelry store.
She totally needed somebody who could get the blueprints on the storm drains for the area. Well, she needed somebody who could get the plans without tipping off the police or maybe even some of Danielle Atron’s people, because Alex was pretty sure Danielle must have paid off a bunch of politicians and police in the area, and some of them might still be on her payroll, or willing to rat somebody out for a big payoff.
She came up from the storm drain and puddled up the side of the biggest building there. It was a three-story apartment building, Paradise Heights Apartments. Even if there wasn’t any height around there. It was a flat part of town. She puddled to the middle of the building and looked around. When she didn’t see anyone, she went normal in her superheroine costume. She checked that her wig was on straight, and that she had both her good cameras in the fanny pack riding on one hip. Then she leapt up into the air.
It was only about fifteen or twenty blocks from there to the credit union, and she was flying way faster than a car could go. Even a police car with a siren. So she got there just seconds after the first police car screeched to a halt in front of the bank and two police officers jumped out with their guns already out.
Not that it did them any good.
She couldn’t get there in time to stop the mean-looking, weasely bank robber with the shaved head from blasting the police car with a massive lightning bolt that sent one of the policemen tumbling backward and spazzing out like he’d fallen on a power line.
The second policeman wasn’t touching the car, and staggered away far enough that he didn’t get shocked too badly, but he still dropped his police shotgun and fell to his knees. And that wasn’t a good thing, because the musclebound bank robber with the enormous tats and the blond mullet pointed his hand at one of the benches on the sidewalk and waved his hand toward the policeman. The whole bench leapt up off the ground and went flying at the guy.
The whole bench? Oh, this was totally bad. That bench had heavy 2x4’s for the seat and the back, but the sides were formed concrete. Each side piece had to weigh more than she did. That meant Mister Musclehead, or whatever his name really was, had telekinesis like she did, only more. A lot more. If he could lift three or four hundred pounds like that, she was in big trouble. She could only lift two hundred pounds tops, and she was already using about a hundred twenty pounds of that just to keep herself in the air.
But that bench was going to crush the cop like a bug. The guy was on his hands and knees, trying to get up, and he had no time at all. What was she supposed to do?
If she grabbed that bench with everything she had, she still wouldn’t be able hold it. And she’d fall fifty feet to the sidewalk below her and get herself killed. If she tried to grab that bench with the eighty pounds of telekinesis she had available until she landed, it wouldn’t do any good. And that left…
That left Buffy.
Buffy had shown Alex that her powers were pretty much lame against someone with enough training and enough strength and enough speed. Okay, what Buffy could do when armed with a sword pretty much made a Tyrannosaurus Rex look tame. And what Buffy had taught her about martial arts was pretty good, for five days with lessons scattered around actual battles. But Alex was not a martial arts expert, and she knew that.
Still, she knew something
. And what Buffy had shown her to deal with much stronger opponents was the ‘guide parry’. A movement that let you block something you couldn’t possibly stop just by sticking your hand up and trying to catch the blow. It was more like a push to the side to re-direct all that power, so it went past your head instead of into your face.
She rushed down toward the street and slung her fanny pack over toward the little brick arch where you walked into the shops inside the Sterling Building. She used her telekinesis to make sure the pack went flying over there but didn’t crash into the bricks. As she managed that, she reached out with the rest of her telekinesis and pushed the bench to the side. She just kept pushing as the thing flew through the air, and she thought she could see it veering off to the side some.
She hit the ground a little harder than she planned, but she didn’t fall. She just stopped holding herself up, and she pushed with everything she had. It veered a little more.
The concrete bench hit the street so hard the concrete shattered and the 2x4’s splintered. It hit the street only about two dozen feet to the side of the cop, and the shards of concrete flying through the air knocked the cop down again.
Mister Musclehead stared in confusion. “What the-”
Mean Weasel – or whatever his name really was – growled, “How the hell could you miss that guy with a whole goddamn bench?”
And, just because things weren’t bad enough, a silvery form rose up behind them with a huge duffelbag stuffed full of what was probably cash. He said, “We got company!” and pointed right at her.
Mean Weasel muttered, “You gotta be fuckin’ kidding me.”
Mister Musclehead looked over at her, and his eyes dove right down to her chest. He grunted, “Hell yeah.”
Without looking, she used her telekinesis to drop the fanny pack and hold up both cameras. She couldn’t see what the cameras were aimed at, but she didn’t care. She just panned back and forth across the street with the video camera, so she got everything that was going on. Her in her uniform, the damaged police car, the three bank robbers, everything.
She put her hands on her hips and announced in her firm Terawatt voice, “Drop the duffel bag and put your hands above your heads. The police will be here directly, and you will be under arrest.”
It didn’t work. Okay, she didn’t think it had even a teensy-weensy chance of working. But she mainly wanted the three guys to be concentrating on her, instead of trying to kill the two policemen, or grabbing a bunch of hostages. And that was even assuming the first policeman wasn’t already electrocuted.
She definitely got their attention, though. All of it.
Mean Weasel pulled up a light submachine gun and opened fire at her. She had learned enough from Sam that she knew it wasn’t an Uzi, but it sure looked like one. Sam liked the P-90, but she had shown Alex and Buffy and Selina some of the other weaponry she had brought along, and some of the weaponry their opponents might have, and so Alex knew. The thing Mean Weasel had on a strap was a machine pistol based on the Uzi. She didn’t know the name of this one, but it was sure Uzi-ish.
She didn’t move her hands or give away what she was doing with a glance at the gun. She just stood there like she was invulnerable to bullets, which she totally wasn’t. She just used her telekinesis as a guide parry to push the bullets into the street in front of her.
Mean Weasel wasn’t the only armed badguy, though. He was just the one who reacted first. Or over-reacted first. Shifter-guy tried to go completely normal, even if he was wavering in and out of the silver color pretty badly. He pulled up something she recognized and aimed it right at her stomach.
If she hadn’t spent time with Sam, she still might have known what it was. She might have recognized its cousins from action movies. But this was something Sam had shown her on a laptop. Sam had wielded something a lot more high-tech than this, but still had wanted everyone on the team to know what a variety of weapons looked like, just in case some of the enemy had modern weaponry instead of swords and axes. Buffy had said it wouldn’t be the first time a vampire tried to use a gun on her.
This wasn’t a ‘gun’. It wasn’t even really a ‘firearm’. It was a freaking anti-tank weapon! Who did they think she was? Wonder Woman? Or that guy Selina talked about who could take a tactical nuclear weapon off his face? She was just a girl!
Okay, maybe not just
a girl. She knew this guy was holding a Rocket Propelled Grenade, or RPG, in a rifle-like launcher, and if she let him stand there and fire it off, there was no way she had enough telekinesis to withstand the blast. Maybe she could survive it if she went silvery. But what would happen to everyone else around here? It was a grenade, maybe even a grenade for killing tanks! What if it went through her while she was silvery and hit a building full of people?
Shifter-guy pulled the trigger. She didn’t know how hard the rocket would jet out of the launcher. She figured Sam would know, to the pound. Or foot-pound. Or newton. Or whatever the right units of measurement were. She really needed a physics class. But she reached out with her telekinesis and pushed against the tip of the grenade.
The grenade was basically shaped like two fat ice cream cones glued together at the rims, and then stuck on a short broomstick. It tried to shoot out of the launcher, but she was able to push it back without using everything she had.
And that was a really good thing, because Mean Weasel was slapping a new ammo clip into his machine pistol, and Mister Musclehead was struggling to get a sawed-off shotgun out of a bag slung over his shoulder. It suddenly occurred to her that if she hadn’t gotten here when she did, these guys would have killed a lot
of people when they made their getaway. And it was pretty obvious they didn’t care who they killed.
The RPG didn’t fly out of the launcher, but it managed to get most of the way out. She pushed some more, and stopped it. But then the rocket booster kicked in. Shifter-guy dropped his launcher and screamed. He went silvery to avoid being roasted by the backblast of the rocket.
Mean Weasel looked at the RPG which wasn’t rocketing where he wanted it to go. He yelled, “MIKE!”
Mister Musclehead turned and looked at the RPG, and shoved his hand out, dropping the shotgun and the bag by accident. He flicked his arm straight up, and the RPG went tumbling upward until the rocket straightened out its flightpath and it went jetting straight upward.
And Sam had told her about this, too. You could fire an RPG at a tank or a building or a bunch of people, and it would explode when it hit. Or you could fire it off into the air and wait until it blew up on its own, because lots of these things had a timer inside too. That meant she had a couple seconds while Mister Musclehead was doing his best to push the grenade straight up, and Mean Weasel was looking at the grenade instead of her.
She stopped the video camera and quickly glanced over to check that the cameras were both pointing at her. Good so far. She turned them back on and tried to move them to follow what she did next. She took two fast steps and dove forward, using her telekinesis to turn her dive into flight. She flew across the street at about four feet up, and threw a lightning bolt at Mister Musclehead.
The bolt hit him right in the chest, and he flew backwards about five feet.
But Mean Weasel already had another clip in his machine pistol, and he was aiming at her with his gun and with his other hand. He unloaded the clip at her and hurled a massive lightning bolt at her face.
She kept flying right at him, but she went silvery too. The lightning bolt hit her, and she shuddered from the painful shock. That was a really nasty bolt. It was a good thing she’d been hit by major lightning blasts before, or she probably would have lost her concentration and gone normal, and lost her telekinesis too, and crashed into the street. Then the bullets began zipping into her silvery form. They stung, but they mainly went through her. It was tough to hurt a puddle of liquid by shooting it.
She aimed herself at the Mean Weasel, but something smashed into her side like she just got hit by a truck. If she had been normal instead of silvery, it probably would have broken half the bones in her body. She went flying way off to the side and slammed hard into the bulletproof glass of the credit union’s windows. Man, that would have broken the other half the bones in her body. That hurt.
She managed to spot Mister Musclehead pushing at her with his hands, just as her silvery form smashed flat against the windows and the telekinetic force from Mister Musclehead broke the glass, sending her flying into the credit union.
This was definitely bad. Of the bad, as Buffy would have said if she was here. That guy had telekinesis that was strong enough to smash through bank windows. She was totally outclassed, power-wise.
Boy, she wished Buffy was here right now. Buffy would be stronger and faster than these guys. And smarter. She would know just what to do.
There was a huge boom out on the street. She figured it was the RPG exploding high over the buildings. That probably meant she was out of time. All three supercreeps would be concentrating on her now.
Shifter-guy was still having major trouble not being all silvery, but he managed to pick up the grenade launcher and shove a new RPG down the muzzle.
Oh crud. If he fired it into the credit union at her, everyone hiding in the room could get killed!
Buffy. Buffy would know what to do.
Buffy had talked about disarming and deflecting when someone was armed. Someone holding a heavy weapon was exerting force to hold it up. Pushing it down so it pointed into the ground was a lot more effort than pushing it upward and getting the person to point it at the sky. At the time, she had been talking about someone wielding a broadsword or even a troll hammer. But still…
Shifter-guy started to aim the RPG right at her, so she used her telekinesis. She slapped against the underside of the end of the barrel, and the gun flipped upward. She pressed some more, until the gun flipped onto Shifter-guy’s other shoulder and pointed backward at Mean Weasel.
Mean Weasel instantly screamed, “WALT!” and let loose a huge blast of lightning that caught Shifter-guy in the back.
Everything happened at once. Shifter-guy convulsed. The rocket fired. The backblast rushed right at her. Mister Musclehead screamed like a girl at the prospect of getting an anti-tank RPG fired into his face. Mean Weasel accidentally fired his machine pistol into Shifter-guy’s wavering form, and all across the front of the credit union.
Alex threw everything she had into her telekinesis, putting up as much of a wall as she could. She had never tried anything bigger than a doorway, and the shattered window was about four times wider than that. She knew that if she messed up, some of the people behind her could be shot. They could die
Maybe she was weird, but that scared her a lot more than the idea of her
Shifter-guy collapsed into a quivering puddle. Mister Musclehead pushed the RPG up into the sky. Bullets hammered against her telekinetic wall, but the only one that got through was at the far side of the window, where it chipped into the bulletproof glass and ricocheted back somewhere into the street.
Mean Weasel’s machine pistol stopped firing. Mister Musclehead was still focusing on the RPG overhead.
She grabbed that machine pistol with her telekinesis and slammed it upward into Mean Weasel’s face. He staggered back. She slammed it into his forehead. His head rocked backward, but he was still standing, and still hanging onto the weapon with his finger inside the trigger guard. She slammed it a little harder into his forehead, and he fell over backward like a tipped-over mannequin.
One down, one maybe down, and one distracted. She leapt forward and flew right at Mister Musclehead. He was almost six feet tall for real, not faked with platform boots like her. And he had huge biceps that were probably bigger around than her waist, so she couldn’t beat him in a straight fight. She knew she couldn’t beat him in a telekinesis battle, either. But she planned on cheating.
She was out the credit union window and across the sidewalk before the RPG exploded overhead. But as soon as the grenade went off, he looked her way. He flinched at the sight of her flying right at him, and his hand shot out to the side. One of the open doors of the police car ripped off its hinges and went flying right at her head.
Holy crud. How much force did it take to rip a car door off? That was way more power than she had.
Holy crud. She was about to get smacked in the face with a flying car door.
She waited as long as she dared, and she dropped. She just stopped holding herself in the air, and she went almost straight down, not counting her forward motion. The car door flew over her head, and she caught herself about half a foot above the asphalt. She just kept moving forward, and just came up right in front of him.
She kicked out at his crotch in a really dirty move that Buffy had totally encouraged her to do. But he turned his hips and blocked that. With the turn he made with his hips, he threw a looping roundhouse punch at her face.
Jeez, he had fists the size of bricks! They were huge!
She slapped the outside of his wrist in an outside-to-inside block, throwing a pile of telekinesis into it too. Ouch, he was strong. But that was the opening she wanted. He hadn’t ever thought about using his telekinesis together with his fists, like Buffy had suggested. So her ‘block’ was more than enough to knock his fist off to the side. His fist, his arm, and his whole upper body. Perfect.
She slid her parrying hand along his wrist and touched him with her fingertips. Zap! She let him have it with a big jolt of electricity. She felt him seize up and stop throwing his punch.
Then she pretended to punch him in the jaw with her other fist, even though he was already out cold. She used her telekinesis to shove him back, and she found that he was just barely light enough to lift. Wow, she was figuring he was maybe thirty or fifty pounds heavier than she could lift, but it didn’t look like it. So she made it look like she knocked him thirty feet across the street. He landed flat on his back and didn’t get back up.
She checked Mean Weasel to make sure he was still down, and then she went after Shifter-guy.
She finally lucked out. Shifter-guy was still struggling to turn from a puddle into something else, and couldn’t pick up the rocket launcher he had dropped on the sidewalk. He couldn’t shift back into normal form, either. He was stuck pretty much as a silvery blob. Boy, she remembered how awful it was when she first had her powers and she had trouble not shifting or shifting back to normal or even not losing her clothes whenever she turned into a silvery blob. If this guy wasn’t trying to kill her and everybody around her, she would’ve felt bad for him.
Still, he was going to be tough to stop as soon as he decided to just run away as a puddle. And, judging by the couple piles of money dropped around him, he probably still had a lot of the robbery loot on him.
She used all her telekinesis to scoop him up. She didn’t really know how heavy he was, but she was pretty sure there was no way she could fly and lift him too. So she just stood there and scooped him into the air, then poured him into the mailbox on the corner. She hoped the post office guys didn’t get mad at her about it.
Once she had him in the post office box, she looked around the box to make sure there weren’t any holes he could get out. He did try opening the door at the top to get back out, so she slammed it shut with her hand and used a little lightning to sort of make a little arc weld. It seemed like it was enough, because he was rattling around inside but couldn’t open it.
Whew. She could hardly believe it, but it looked like she’d won this fight after all.